Literary Device Dictionary
Fahrenheit 451 Austin Gardiner
Allusion-a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance.
analysis- The literary device allusion, is shown by Benjamin Franklin's name being mentioned as the first firemen even though he obviously wasn't. This is significant to the story because the government is lying to the people saying that books are useless. The government does not want citizens to be knowledgeable. With common knowledge, one would know that the "First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin" (Bradbury32) is historically incorrect. But the citizens have no idea because books are forbidden to read and must be burned by firemen. This makes people unintelligent and lacking of common knowledge.
Analogy-a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification
analysis- In this analogy, it compares the firehouse burning to a salamander biting his own tail. The firehouse burns every house where books or literature is found. The plan for Montag and Faber was to plant books in the firehouse so the firemen would be forced to burn it down. This would also raise question in the public eye. The public would see firemen as being hypocrites. This would hurt the firemen and the house like a "salamander devours his tail!"(Bradbury82). This event advances the plot and creates excitement and drama in the story.
Dynamic Character-undergoes an important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude
quote- "They don't know that this is all one huge big blazing meteor that makes a pretty fire in space, but that some day it'll have to hit. They see only the blaze, the pretty fire, as you saw it." (Bradbury100).Analysis- Because of Montag's change of perspective on books, he is an example of a dynamic character. At the beginning of the story, Montag honestly didn't care much about books. He was a fireman who burnt them. He was oblivious to the importance of books. People saw them as objects that needed to be burned, "as you saw it"(Bradbury100). But as the story progressed, Montag began to wander why they burnt books and if they actually have significant value. He started to illegally read books and talk to this retired English professor. His perspective on books changed and he realized that mankind needs books to learn.
Imagery-Consists of descriptive words and phrases that recreate sensory experiences
Analysis- Because of the use of imagery in the story, it shows Montag's comfort around Clarisse McClellan. The significance of this is that she opens Montag's point of view on reading and on reading and books by asking simple questions about it. Montag saw her as comfortable to be around because Clarisse "was not the hysterical light of electricity but- what? But the strangely comfortable and rare and gently flattering light of a candle" (Bradbury5). The comfort between them allows Montag to be susceptible to what she is saying. The story would be different because Montag would not question why firemen burn books. This friendship sparks an interest in books that advance the story forward.
Irony-an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
Quote- "Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget.... Of course you couldn't know this. Of course you still can't understand what i mean when I say all this" (Bradbury79).Analysis-Because of the literary device irony, the human race is being shown as being not as knowledgeable as they once were. Since books are forbidden and must be burned, people aren't as smart. Many books are used to store "a lot of things we were afraid we might forget" (Bradbury79). But because books are forbidden to read, man kind is self-destructive, going to war, and repeating there own mistakes. This is why man kind is uninformed in the book. Faber complains that "Of course you couldn't know this. Of course you still can't understand what I mean when i say all this" (Bradbury79). This shows irony because it is mankind's own fault that they are under-educated. The use of this literary device is important because it shows how important education really is. Books should not be burned so they can be read and we can learn from them.
Paradox-a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Analysis- Since the literary device paradox, is being used, it completely drives the story. Firemen burning down houses instead of saving them is completely different to reality. This is the difference in the story to real life. Because books are forbidden, firemen burn down houses that contain literature. This makes mankind start to lack of knowledge. Without this twist on reality, the story would be like everyday life. All conflicts in the book are because of the base idea of "firemen burned burned down houses instead of saving them" (Bradburyxiii-xiv). Montag would not have realized the importance of books because everyone would have already known there importance if firemen didn't burn them.
Personification- the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
Analysis- Because of the personification being used, it gives the rifle human characteristics such as being able to '"fetch its own target"'(Bradbury25). An actual rifle wouldn't even be able to fire without someone pulling the trigger. This is important to the story because this is what they use to hunt down criminals who have read books and tried to get away. If one gets caught with literature, they must be sentenced time in jail because they have broken the law. This advances the story because Montag will eventually encounter this later in the story.
Static Character-one that does not undergo important change in the course of the story,
Quote-"Mildred, of course. She must have watched him hide the books in the garden and brought them back in. Mildred. Mildred" (Bradbury109).Analysis-Because of the steadiness and consistency of the character Mildred, her character is an example of a static character. This event in the story shows a lot about Mildred's character. Previously, Montag asked Mildred for help and she told him that it was wrong and he shouldn't be doing this. Mildred does not show feelings for Montag throughout the book even though the two are married. Apparently, her love for Montag(if she had love for him anyways) was not as important as breaking the law. The person to snitch on Montag was "Mildred, of course" because she "must have watch him hide the books in the garden and brought them back in" (Bradbury109). It is very saddening to see someones own wife betray them in a time like this. By her actions, it instigates conflict and forces Montag to flee into hiding.
Symbolism-an object, person, or situation has another meaning other than its literal meaning
Analysis- Because of the use of symbolism, the reader can indicate that Mildred and Montag's relationship is impaired and dysfunctional. Mildred often avoids having meaningful conversations such as how she feels about Montag. She does not show affection towards him or anything. This is one of the reasons Montag feels lost in the beginning of the book. He thinks maybe he's "'not in love with anyone!"'(Bradbury41). This definitely shows "a wall between him and Mildred" (Bradbury41). This affects events later in the story like Mildred snitching on Montag that he had books.
Theme- a main idea or an underlying meaning of a literary work that may be stated directly or indirectly
Analysis- Because of the theme of the story is the importance of books, it advances the story greatly. repeatedly, there are instances where Montag is reminded of how important books are. Books are to remind human of the mistakes made in the past so history doesn't repeat itself. Books are the main source of knowledge. With knowledge, man-kind can move forward and more proactively. Making mistakes is inevitable but repeating them is not. Books help "'remind us what asses and fools we are"' so we don't continue to be fools. (Bradbury82). Bradbury is trying to inform the reader of the importance of reading and education. This idea is portrayed throughout the book. As Montag realizes the importance of books, so does the reader. This is significant to the book because it is the drive of Montag's decisions. Montag steals books and hides them so he can read what is inside. Even though it is illegal, Montag loves to read and will stop at nothing to read from the books and learn from them.